Beautiful day for a beautiful wedding! What was your wedding day like? Was it magical? iBiographer is a great place to write about your own special wedding day and preserve those wonderful memories and photos!
Of course watching the royal wedding gave everyone an idea of some of the traditions of a British church wedding with the hymns, choir, and bells tolling. And even though not all the British wedding customs will apply when it comes to a royal wedding it does come very close to what really happens. Meghan or should we say Duchess of Sussex chose to respect the royal family traditions but on the world stage was not shy to give it her own touch and embrace some of her own culture and heritage …certainly causing a little stir amongst some of the guests not familiar with these traditions!
So let’s not get too carried away…. Of course not all weddings will have the flag waving crowds, and such grandeur, but you could be lucky and also have a beautiful sunshine on your special day. It does, however, give a good idea of a British church wedding. Maybe watching the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral would give an even closer example of how some British weddings really are – love that movie!
While the United States and United Kingdom may seem to be very similar there are quite a few distinct differences between the two when it comes to wedding traditions. Recently however, there are some US traditions that are beginning to make an appearance across the pond but the old UK traditions still stay strong and firm in place.
Here are 15 things to know if you ever find yourself marrying in USA or having a British wedding…
1. It’s the church or Registry Office.There are very few destination weddings. If you marry outside the church you will need to get married again at the Registry Office to make it legal and official.
2. It is very uncommon for British couples to write their own vows, since the majority of the population gets married in a Church, which follows a strict protocol.
3. In UK they tend to happen during the day time, usually early afternoon and go on till around midnight. However in US it’s usually in the evening.
4. UK weddings they tend to have 2 receptions – a sit down meal after the service, and then an evening reception with music and dancing. Usually this is where people not as close to the couple or partners of main guests can be invited to attend e.g. co workers, boyfriends/girlfriends. Elderly guests may decide to skip this part. The food is usually snacks or a light buffet. US is usually dinner followed by dancing. Some have a casual after party.
5. Guests usually wear formal clothes, suits with hats/ fascinators for the ceremony. Guest especially women usually change their outfit to more relaxed evening/cocktail dresses for the evening reception. If there is a big enough gap in time, guests may even leave after the main reception, go home, change clothes and return for the evening reception.
6. British couples do not have as many pre-wedding activities as those in the United States. While they do have stag nights and hen do’s (bachelor and bachelorette parties), they do not have bridal showers.
7. In UK there is also no rehearsal dinner night for the Groom’s parents to organize and pay for. In the UK a small casual rehearsal can happen at the venue if allowed and then everyone does their own thing.
8. UK it’s usually a cash bar so no free drinking like in the US! It is something that surprises UK guests at an American wedding which can makes them very happy, and even drunk!
9. British bridesmaids follow behind the bride. The maid of honor is called the chief bridesmaid. Bridesmaids sit during the ceremony, while most American bridesmaids stand beside the bride throughout the service. They also walk alone before the bride.
10. The Ushers (groomsmen) as they are called in the UK usually help with seating, handing out programs and guiding guests. Unlike USA they don’t walk down the aisle …or stand up in the front with the groom and best man.
11. Americans can have pretty much whatever flavor they want for cake. American cakes are soft sponge cakes covered in soft flavored butter cream freshly prepared before the wedding. Meanwhile traditional English are rich fruit cakes made weeks before and are covered in marzipan ( a barrier to stop the dark color affecting the white icing) and Royal Icing. They can be hard, brittle and tough to slice! Fruit cakes like this last for a few years. The top tier can be stored at a cool room temperature, and was traditionally used for the first child’s christening cake. Also, if you have guests who could not make it to the wedding they will be expecting a piece of the cake through the mail!
12. Speeches in UK are done by the groom, best man, and the father of the bride, but in the US also by the Maid of Honor A British groom is liable to give a full speech, instead of a brief toast thanking the guests like in the US. The best man’s speech is expected to be full of humor and embarrassing tales. And they can all be quite long …………….!
13. The bride and groom do not sit alone like in the US. There is a top table of all the main characters. From middle it starts with the bride and groom. To the groom’s left side is the bride’s mother, groom’s father, chief bridesmaid. To the bride’s right is bride’s father, groom’s mother, bestman. Additional people like more bridesmaids and the priest can also be at the table if there is room.
14. There is traditionally no father/daughter or mother/son dance like in the US. However it may be starting to be adopted in UK. There is also no dancing during the main reception meal. In the UK it is all left for the evening reception.
15. Traditionally the main costs of the wedding are paid for by the bride’s parents in both countries. In the US the bridegroom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner but that doesn’t happen in the UK. Traditionally in UK the groom is supposed to pay for bride’s ring, any ceremony fees, flowers for bridal party, gifts for bridal party, transportation for himself, best man and wife, flowers for the mothers, & the honeymoon. The bridesmaid dresses are paid for by the bride and not the bridesmaids like in the US. However nowadays it seems to be getting more equitable between the two families in both countries.
Does this all make you think of your wedding? Why not use www.ibiographer.com to write about your memories of the special time and preserve these memories. in a safe place.
So now you know what to expect if you end up marrying in the US or attend a British wedding! Maybe some of these traditions will be adopted by each country over time?
Are there others? What are they? Let me know if I have missed any. Do you know any other wedding traditions?
If you’ve been to both British and US weddings, which did you prefer? Which country spends the most on weddings do you think? Maybe that’s a topic for another blog discussion….
Please excuse any speling and grammatical errors to….
Cheers and thanks for reading….let me know what you think!